The Religion of the Samurai by Kaiten Nukariya - HTML preview
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A ridiculous thing it is, in fact, that man or woman, endowed with the same nature as Buddha's, born the lord of all material objects, is ever upset by petty cares, haunted by the fearful phantoms of his or her own creation, and burning up his or her energy in a fit of passion, wasting his or her vitality for the sake of foolish or insignificant things.
It is a man who can keep the balance of his mind under any circumstances, who can be calm and serene in the hottest strife of life, that is worthy of success, reward, respect, and reputation, for he is the master of men. It was at the age of forty-seven that Wang Yang Ming[FN#240] (O-yo-mei) won a splendid victory over the rebel army which threatened the throne of the Ming dynasty. During that warfare Wang was giving a course of lectures to a number of students at the headquarters of the army, of which he was the
Commander-in-chief. At the very outset of the battle a messenger brought him the news of defeat of the foremost ranks. All the students were terror-stricken and grew pale at the unfortunate tidings, but the teacher was not a whit disturbed by it. Some time after another messenger brought in the news of complete rout of the enemy. All the students, enraptured, stood up and cheered, but he was as cool as before, and did not break off lecturing. Thus the practiser of Zen has so perfect control over his heart that he can keep presence of mind under an impending danger, even in the presence of death itself.
[FN#240] The founder of the Wang School of Confucianism, a practiser of Meditation, who was born in 1472, and died at the age of fifty-seven in 1529.
It was at the age of twenty-three that Haku-in got on board a boat bound for the Eastern Provinces, which met with a tempest and was almost wrecked. All the passengers were laid low with fear and fatigue, but Haku-in enjoyed a quiet sleep during the storm, as if he were lying on a comfortable bed. It was in the fifth of Mei-ji era that Doku-on[FN#241] lived for some time in the city of Tokyo, whom some Christian zealots attempted to murder. One day he met with a few young men equipped with swords at the gate of his temple. "We want to see Doku-on; go and tell him," said they to the priest. "I am Doku-on," replied he calmly, "whom you want to see, gentlemen. What can I do for you?" "We have come to ask you a favour; we are Christians; we want your hoary head." So saying they were ready to attack him, who, smiling, replied: "All right, gentlemen. Behead me forthwith, if you please." Surprised by this unexpected boldness on the part of the priest, they turned back without harming even a hair of the old Buddhist.[FN#242][FN#241] Doku On (Ogino), a distinguished Zen master, an abbot of So-koku-ji, who was born in 1818, and died in 1895. [FN#242] Kin-sei-zen-rin-gen-ko-roku, by D. Mori.
These teachers could through long practice constantly keep their minds buoyant, casting aside useless encumbrances of idle thoughts; bright, driving off the dark cloud of melancholy; tranquil, putting down turbulent waves of passion; pure, cleaning away the dust and ashes of illusion; and serene, brushing off the cobwebs of doubt and fear. The only means of securing all this is to realize the conscious union with the Universal Life through the Enlightened Consciousness, which can be awakened by dint of Dhyana.5. Zazen, or the Sitting in Meditation.
Habit comes out of practice, and forms character by degrees, and eventually works out destiny. Therefore we must practically sow optimism, and habitually nourish it in order to reap the blissful fruit of Enlightenment. The sole means of securing mental calmness is the practice of Zazen, or the sitting in Meditation. This method was known in India as Yoga as early as the Upanisad period, and developed by the followers of the Yoga system.[FN#243] But Buddhists sharply distinguished Zazen from Yoga, and have the method peculiar to themselves. Kei-zan[FN#244] describes the method to the following effect: 'Secure a quiet room neither extremely light nor extremely dark, neither very warm nor very cold, a room, if you can, in the Buddhist temple located in a beautiful mountainous district. You should not practise Zazen in a place where a conflagration or a flood or robbers may be likely to disturb you, nor should you sit in a place close by the sea or drinking-shops or brothel-houses, or the houses of widows and of maidens or buildings for music, nor should you live in close proximity to the place frequented by kings, ministers, powerful statesmen, ambitious or insincere persons. You must not sit in Meditation in a windy or very high place lest you should get ill. Be sure not to let the wind or smoke get into your room, not to expose it to rain and storm. Keep your room clean. Keep it not too light by day nor too dark by night. Keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. Do not sit leaning against a wall, or a chair, or a screen. You must not wear soiled clothes or beautiful clothes, for the former are the cause of illness, while the latter the cause of attachment. Avoid the Three Insufficiencies-that is to say, insufficient clothes, insufficient food, and insufficient sleep.
Abstain from all sorts of uncooked or hard or spoiled or unclean food, and also from very delicious dishes, because the former cause troubles in your alimentary canal, while the latter cause you to covet after diet. Eat and drink just too appease your hunger and thirst, never mind whether the food be tasty or not. Take your meals regularly and punctually, and never sit in Meditation immediately after any meal. Do not practise Dhyana soon after you have taken a heavy dinner, lest you should get sick thereby. Sesame, barley, corn, potatoes, milk, and the like are the best material for your food. Frequently wash your eyes, face, hands, and feet, and keep them cool and clean.[FN#243] See Yoga Sutra with the Commentary of Bhoja Raja (translated by Rajendralala Mitra), pp. 102-104. [FN#244] Kei-zan (Jo-kin), the founder of So-ji-ji, the head temple of the So To Sect of Zen, who died at the age of fifty-eight in 1325. He sets forth the doctrine of Zen and the method of practising Zazen in his famous work, entitled Za-zen-yo-jin-ki.
'There are two postures in Zazen--that is to say, the crossed-leg sitting, and the half crossed-leg sitting. Seat yourself on a thick cushion, putting it right under your haunch. Keep your body so erect that the tip of the nose and the navel are in one perpendicular line, and both ears and shoulders are in the same plane. Then place the right foot upon the left thigh, the left foot on the right thigh, so as the legs come across each other. Next put your right hand with the palm upward on the left foot, and your left hand on the right palm with the tops of both the thumbs touching each other. This is the posture called the crossed-leg sitting. You may simply place the left foot upon the right thigh, the position of the hands being the same as in the cross-legged sitting. This posture is named the half crossed-leg sitting.'
'Do not shut your eyes, keep them always open during whole Meditation. Do not breathe through the mouth; press your tongue against the roof of the mouth, putting the upper lips and teeth together with the lower. Swell your abdomen so as to hold the breath in the belly; breathe rhythmically through the nose, keeping a measured time for inspiration and expiration. Count for some time either the inspiring or the expiring breaths from one to ten, then beginning with one again. Concentrate your attention on your breaths going in and out as if you are the sentinel standing at the gate of the nostrils. If you do some mistake in counting, or be forgetful of the breath, it is evident that your mind is distracted.'
Chwang Tsz seems to have noticed that the harmony of breathing is typical of the harmony of mind, since he says: "The true men of old did not dream when they slept. Their breathing came deep and silently. The breathing of true men comes (even) from his heels, while men generally breathe (only) from their throats."[FN#245] At any rate, the counting of breaths is an expedient for calming down of mind, and elaborate rules are given in the Zen Sutra,[FN#246] but Chinese and Japanese Zen masters do not lay so much stress on this point as Indian teachers.[FN#245] Chwang Tsz, vol. iii., p. 2. [FN#246] Dharmatara-dhyana-sutra. 6. The Breathing Exercise of the Yogi.
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somewhat similar in its method and end to those of Zen. We quote here[FN#247] Yogi Ramacharaka to show how modern Yogis practise it: "(1) Stand or sit erect. Breathing through the nostrils, inhale steadily, first filling the lower part of the lungs, which is accomplished by bringing into play the diaphragm, which, descending, exerts a gentle pressure on the abdominal organs, pushing forward the front walls of the abdomen. Then fill the middle part of the lungs, pushing out the lower ribs, breastbone, and chest. Then fill the higher portion of the lungs, protruding the upper chest, thus lifting the chest, including the upper six or seven pairs of ribs. In the final
movement the lower part of the abdomen will be slightly drawn in, which movement gives the lungs a support, and also helps to fill the highest part of the lungs. At the first reading it may appear that this breath consists of three distinct movements. This, however, is not the correct idea. The inhalation is continuous, the entire chest cavity from the lower diaphragm to the highest point of the chest in the region of the collar-bone being expanded with a uniform movement.
Avoid a jerking series of inhalations, and strive to attain a steady, continuous action. Practice will soon overcome the tendency to divide the inhalation into three movements, and will result in a uniform continuous breath. You will be able to complete the inhalation in a couple of seconds after a little practice. (2) Retain the breath a few seconds. (3) Exhale quite slowly, holding the chest in a firm position, and drawing the abdomen in a little and lifting it upward slowly as the air leaves the lungs. When the air is entirely exhaled, relax the chest and abdomen. A little practice will render this part of exercise easy, and the movement once acquired will be afterwards performed almost automatically."[FN#247] Hatha Yoga, pp. 112, 113. 7. Calmness of Mind.
The Yogi breathing above mentioned is fit rather for physical exercise than for mental balance, and it will be beneficial if you take that exercise before or after Meditation. Japanese masters mostly bold it very important to push forward. The lowest part of the abdomen during Zazen, and they are right so far as the present writer's personal experiences go.
'If you feel your mind distracted, look at the tip of the nose; never lose sight of it for some time, or look at your own palm, and let not your mind go out of it, or gaze at one spot before you.' This will greatly help you in restoring the equilibrium of your mind. Chwang Tsz[FN#248] thought that calmness of mind is essential to sages, and said: "The stillness of the sages does not belong to them as a consequence of their skilful ability; all things are not able to disturb their minds; it is on this account that they are still. When water is still, its clearness shows the beard and eyebrows (of him who looks into it). It is a perfect level, and the greatest
artificer takes his rule from it. Such is the clearness of still water, and how much greater is that of the human spirit? The still mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth, the glass of all things."
Forget all worldly concerns, expel all cares and anxieties, let go of passions and desires, give up ideas and thoughts, set your mind at liberty absolutely, and make it as clear as a burnished mirror. Thus let flow your inexhaustible fountain of purity, let open your inestimable treasure of virtue, bring forth your inner hidden nature of goodness, disclose your innermost divine wisdom, and waken your Enlightened Consciousness to see Universal Life within you. "Zazen enables the practiser," says Kei-zan,[FN#249] "to open up his mind, to see his own nature, to become conscious of mysteriously pure and bright spirit, or eternal light within him."[FN#248] Chwang Tsz, vol. v., p. 5. [FN#249] Za-zen-yo-jin-ki.
Once become conscious of Divine Life within you, yon can see it in your brethren, no matter how different they may be in circumstances, in abilities, in characters, in nationalities, in language, in religion, and in race. You can see it in animals, vegetables, and minerals, no matter how diverse they may be in form, no matter how wild and ferocious some may seem in nature, no matter how unfeeling in heart some may seem, no matter how devoid of intelligence some may appear, no matter how insignificant some may be, no matter how simple in construction some may be, no matter how lifeless some may seem. You can see that the whole universe is Enlightened and penetrated by Divine Life.8. Zazen and the Forgetting of Self.
Zazen is a most effectual means of destroying selfishness, the root of all Sin, folly, vice, and evil, since it enables us to see that every being is endowed with divine spirituality in common with men. It is selfishness that throws dark shadows on life, just as it is not the sun but the body that throws shadow before it. It is the self-same selfishness that gave rise to the belief in the immortality of soul, in spite of its irrationality, foolishness, and
superstition. Individual self should be a poor miserable thing if it were not essentially connected with the Universal Life. We can always enjoy pure happiness when we are united with nature, quite forgetful of our poor self. When you look, for example, into the smiling face of a pretty baby, and smile with it, or listen to the sweet melody of a songster and sing with it, you completely forget your poor self at that enraptured moment. But your feelings of beauty and happiness are for ever gone when you resume your self, and begin to consider them after your own selfish ideas. To forget self and identify it with nature is to break down its limitation and to set it at liberty. To break down petty selfishness and extend it into Universal Self is to unfetter and deliver it from bondage. It therefore follows that salvation can be secured not by the
continuation of individuality in another life, but by the realization of one's union with Universal Life, which is immortal, free,
limitless, eternal, and bliss itself. This is easily effected by
Yoga[FN#250] claims that various supernatural powers can be acquired by Meditation, but Zen does not make any such absurd claims. It rather disdains those who are believed to have acquired supernatural powers by the practice of austerities. The following traditions clearly show this spirit: "When Fah Yung (Ho-yu) lived in Mount Niu Teu[FN#251] (Go-zu-san) he used to receive every morning the offerings of flowers from hundreds of birds, and was believed to have supernatural powers. But after his Enlightenment by the instruction of the Fourth Patriarch, the birds ceased to make offering, because be became a being too divine to be seen by inferior animals." "Hwang Pah (O-baku), one day going up Mount Tien Tai (Ten-dai-san), which was believed to have been inhabited by Arhats with supernatural powers, met with a monk whose eyes emitted strange light. They went along the pass talking with each other for a short while until they came to a river roaring with torrent. There being no bridge, the master bad to stop at the shore; but his companion crossed the river walking on the water and beckoned to Hwang Pah to follow him. Thereupon Hwang Pah said: 'If I knew thou art an Arhat, I would have doubled you up before thou got over there!' The monk then understood the spiritual attainment of Hwang Pah, and praised him as a true Mahayanist." "On one occasion Yang Shan (Kyo-zan) saw a stranger monk flying through the air. When that monk came down and approached him with a respectful salutation, he asked: 'Where art thou from? 'Early this morning,' replied the other, 'I set out from India.'
'Why,' said the teacher, 'art thou so late?' 'I stopped,' responded the man, 'several times to look at beautiful sceneries.' Thou mayst have supernatural powers,' exclaimed Yang Shan, 'yet thou must give back the Spirit of Buddha to me.' Then the monk praised Yang Shan saying: 'I have come over to China in order to worship
Manyjucri,[FN#252] and met unexpectedly with Minor Shakya,' and, after giving the master some palm leaves he brought from India, went back through the air.'"[FN#253]
[FN#252] Manyjucri is a legendary Bodhisattva, who became an object of worship of some Mahayanists. He is treated as a personification of transcendental wisdom.[FN#253] Hwui Yuen (E-gen) and Sho-bo-gen-zo.
It is quite reasonable that Zenists distinguish supernatural powers from spiritual uplifting, the former an acquirement of Devas, or of Asuras, or of Arhats, or of even animals, and the latter as a nobler accomplishment attained only by the practisers of Mahayanism. Moreover, they use the term supernatural power in a meaning entirely different from the original one. Lin Tsi (Rin-zai) says, for instance: "There are six supernatural powers of Buddha: He is free from the temptation of form, living in the world of form; He is free from the temptation of sound, living in the world of sound; He is free from the temptation of smell, living in the world of smell; He is free from the temptation of taste, living in the world of taste; He is free from the temptation of Dharma,[FN#254] living in the world of Dharma. These are six supernatural powers."[FN#255][FN#254] The things or objects, not of sense, but of mind. [FN#255] Lin Tsi Luh (Rin-zai-roku).
Sometimes Zenists use the term as if it meant what we call Zen Activity, or the free display of Zen in action, as you see in the
following examples. Tung Shan (To-Zan) was on one occasion attending on his teacher Yun Yen (Un-gan), who asked: "What are your
supernatural powers?" Tung Shan, saying nothing, clasped his hands on his breast, and stood up before Yun Yen. "How do you display your supernatural powers?" questioned the teacher again. Then Tung Shan said farewell and went out. Wei Shan (E-san) one day was taking a nap, and seeing his disciple Yang Shan (Kyo-zan) coming into the room, turned his face towards the wall. "You need not, Sir," said Yang Shan, "stand on ceremony, as I am your disciple." Wei Shan seemed to try to get up, so Yang Shan went out; but Wei Shan called him back and said: "I shall tell you of a dream I dreamed." The other inclined his head as if to listen. "Now," said Wei Shan,
"divine my fortune by the dream." Thereupon Yang Shan fetched a basin of water and a towel and gave them to the master, who washed his face thereby. By-and-by Hiang Yen (Kyo-gen) came in, to whom Wei Shan said: "We displayed supernatural powers a moment ago. It was not such supernatural powers as are shown by Hinayanists." "I know it, Sir," replied the other, "though I was down below." "Say, then, what it was," demanded the master. Then Hiang Yen made tea and gave a cup to Wei Shan, who praised the two disciples, saying: "You surpass Çariputra[FN#256] and Maudgalyayana[FN#257] in your wisdom and supernatural powers."[FN#258]
Again, ancient Zenists did not claim that there was any mysterious element in their spiritual attainment, as Do-gen says[FN#259] unequivocally respecting his Enlightenment: "I recognized only that my eyes are placed crosswise above the nose that stands lengthwise, and that I was not deceived by others. I came home from China with nothing in my hand. There is nothing mysterious in Buddhism. Time passes as it is natural, the sun rising in the east, and the moon setting into the west."[FN#259] Ei-hei-ko-roku. 10. True Dhyana.
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zazen. "We practise Dhyana in sitting, in standing, and in walking," says one of the Japanese Zenists. Lin Tsi (Rin-Zai) also says: "To concentrate one's mind, or to dislike noisy places, and seek only for stillness, is the characteristic of heterodox Dhyana." It is easy to keep self-possession in a place of tranquillity, yet it is by no means easy to keep mind undisturbed amid the bivouac of actual life. It is true Dhyana that makes our mind sunny while the storms of strife rage around us. It is true Dhyana that secures the harmony of heart, while the surges of struggle toss us violently. It is true Dhyana that makes us bloom and smile, while the winter of life covets us with frost and snow.
"Idle thoughts come and go over unenlightened minds six hundred and fifty times in a snap of one's fingers," writes an Indian
teacher,[FN#260] "and thirteen hundred million times every twenty-four hours." This might be an exaggeration, yet we cannot but acknowledge that one idle thought after another ceaselessly bubbles up in the stream of consciousness. "Dhyana is the letting go," continues the writer--"that is to say, the letting go of the thirteen hundred million of idle thoughts." The very root of these thirteen hundred million idle thoughts is an illusion about one's self. He is indeed the poorest creature, even if he be in heaven, who thinks himself poor. On the contrary, he is an angel who thinks himself hopeful and happy, even though he be in hell. "Pray deliver me," said a sinner to Sang Tsung (So-san).[FN#261] "Who ties you up?" was the reply. You tie yourself up day and night with the fine thread of idle thoughts, and build a cocoon of environment from which you have no way of escape. 'There is no rope, yet you imagine yourself bound.' Who could put fetters on your mind but your mind itself? Who could chain your will but your own will? Who could blind your spiritual eyes, unless you yourself shut them up? Who could prevent you from enjoying moral food, unless you yourself refuse to eat? "There are many," said Sueh Fung (Sep-po) on one occasion, "who starve in spite of their sitting in a large basket full of victuals. There are many who thirst in spite of seating themselves on the shore of a sea." "Yes, Sir," replied Huen Sha (Gen-sha), "there are many who starve in spite of putting their heads into the basket full of victuals. There are many who thirst in spite of putting their heads into the waters of the sea."[FN#262] Who could cheer him up who abandons himself to self-created misery? Who could save him who denies his own salvation?
A Brahmin, having troubled himself a long while with reference to the problem of life and of the world, went out to call on Shakya Muni that he might be instructed by the Master. He got some beautiful flowers to offer them as a present to the Muni, and proceeded to the place where He was addressing his disciples and believers. No sooner had he come in sight of the Master than he read in his mien the struggles going on within him. "Let go of that," said the Muni to the Brahmin, who was going to offer the flowers in both his hands. He dropped on the ground the flowers in his right hand, but still holding those in his left. "Let go of that," demanded the Master, and the Brahmin dropped the flowers in his left hand rather reluctantly. "Let go of that, I say," the Muni commanded again; but the Brahmin, having nothing to let go of, asked: "What shall I let go of, Reverend Sir? I have nothing in my hands, you know." "Let go of that, you have neither in your right nor in your left band, but in the middle." Upon these words of the Muni a light came into the sufferer's mind, and he went home satisfied and in joy.[FN#264] "Not to attach to all things is Dhyana," writes an ancient Zenist, "and if you understand this, going out, staying in, sitting, and lying are in Dhyana." Therefore allow not your mind to be a receptacle for the dust of society, or the ashes of life, or rags and waste paper of the world. You bear too much burden upon your shoulders with which you have nothing to do.[FN#264] 'Sutra on the Brahmacarin Black-family,' translated into Chinese by K' Khien, of the Wu dynasty (A.D. 222-280).
Learn the lesson of forgetfulness, and forget all that troubles you, deprives you of sound sleep, and writes wrinkles on your forehead. Wang Yang Ming, at the age of seventeen or so, is said to have forgotten the day 'on which he was to be married to a handsome young lady, daughter of a man of high position. It was the afternoon of the very day on which their nuptials had to be held that he went out to take a walk. Without any definite purpose he went into a temple in the neighbourhood, and there he found a recluse apparently very old with white hair, but young in countenance like a child. The man was sitting absorbed in Meditation. There was something extremely calm and serene in that old man's look and bearing that attracted the young scholar's attention. Questioning him as to his name, age, and birthplace, Wang found that the venerable man had enjoyed a life so extraordinarily long that he forgot his name and age, but that he had youthful energy so abundantly that be could talk with a voice sounding as a large bell. Being asked by Wang the secret of longevity, the man replied: "There is no secret in it; I merely kept my mind calm and peaceful." Further, he explained the method of Meditation according to Taoism and Buddhism. Thereupon Wang sat face to face with the old man and began to practise Meditation, utterly forgetful of his bride and nuptial ceremony. The sun began to cast his slanting rays on the wall of the temple, and they sat motionless; twilight came over them, and night wrapped them with her sable shroud, and they sat as still as two marble statues; midnight, dawn, at last the morning sun rose to find them still in their reverie. The father of the bride, who had started a search during the night, found to his surprise the bridegroom absorbed in Meditation on the following day.[FN#265]
It was at the age of forty-seven that Wang gained a great victory over the rebel army, and wrote to a friend saying: "It is so easy to gain a victory over the rebels fortifying themselves among the mountains, yet it is not so with those rebels living in our
mind."[FN#266] Tsai Kiun Mu (Sai-kun-bo) is said to have had an exceedingly long and beautiful beard, and when asked by the Emperor, who received him in audience, whether he should sleep with his beard on the comforters or beneath them, be could not answer, since he had never known how he did. Being distracted by this question, he went home and tried to find out how he had been used to manage his beard in bed. First he put his beard on the comforters and vainly tried to sleep; then he put it beneath the comforters and thought it all right. Nevertheless, he was all the more disturbed by it. So then, putting on the comforters, now putting it beneath them, he tried to sleep all night long, but in vain. You must therefore forget your mental beard that annoys you all the time.
Men of longevity never carried troubles to their beds. It is a well-known fact that Zui-o (Shi-ga)[FN#267] enjoyed robust health at the age of over one hundred years. One day, being asked whether there is any secret of longevity, he replied affirmatively, and said to the questioner: "Keep your mind and body pure for two weeks, abstaining from any sort of impurity, then I shall tell you of the secret." The man did as was prescribed, and came again to be instructed in the secret. Zui-o said: "Now I might tell you, but be cautious to keep yourself pure another week so as to qualify yourself to learn the secret." When that week was over the old man said: "Now I might tell you, but will you be so careful as to keep yourself pure three days more in order to qualify yourself to receive the secret?" The man did as he was ordered, and requested the instruction. Thereupon Zui-o took the man to his private room and softly whispered, with his mouth close to the ear of the man: "Keep the secret I tell you now, even at the cost of your life. It is
this-don't be passionate. That is all."[FN#268]
Thus far we have stated how to train our body and mind according to the general rules and customs established by Zenists. And here we shall describe the different stages of mental uplifting through which the student of Zen has to go. They are technically called 'The Five Ranks of Merit.'[FN#269] The first stage is called the Rank of Turning,[FN#270] in which the student 'turns' his mind from the external objects of sense towards the inner Enlightened
Consciousness. He gives up all mean desires and aspires to spiritual elevation. He becomes aware that he is not doomed to be the slave of material things, and strives to conquer over them. Enlightened Consciousness is likened to the King, and it is called the Mind-King, while the student who now turns towards the King is likened to common people. Therefore in this first stage the student is in the rank of common people.
The second stage is called the Rank of Service,[FN#271] in which the student distinguishes himself by his loyalty to the Mind-King, and becomes a courtier to 'serve' him. He is in constant 'service' to the King, attending him with obedience and love, and always fearing to offend him. Thus the student in this stage is ever careful not to neglect rules and precepts laid down by the sages, and endeavours to uplift himself in spirituality by his fidelity.
The third stage is called the Rank of Merit,[FN#272] in which the student distinguishes himself by his 'meritorious' acts of conquering over the rebel army of passion which rises against the Mind-King. Now, his rank is not the rank of a courtier, but the rank of a general. In other words, his duty is not only to keep rules and instructions of the sages, but to subjugate his own passion and establish moral order in the mental kingdom.
The fourth stage is called the Rank of Co-operative Merit,[FN#273] in which the student 'co-operates' with other persons in order to complete his merit. Now, he is not compared with a general who conquers his foe, but with the prime-minister who co-operates with other officials to the benefit of the people. Thus the student in this stage is not satisfied with his own conquest of passion, but seeks after spiritual uplifting by means of extending his kindness and sympathy to his fellow-men.[FN#273] Gu-ko in Japanese.
The fifth stage is called the Rank of Merit-over-Merit,[FN#274] which means the rank of meritless-merit. This is the rank of the King himself. The King does nothing meritorious, because all the governmental works are done by his ministers and subjects. All that he has to do is to keep his inborn dignity and sit high on his throne. Therefore his conduct is meritless, but all the meritorious acts of his subjects are done through his authority. Doing nothing, he does everything. Without any merit, he gets all merits. Thus the student in this stage no more strives to keep precepts, but his doings are naturally in accord with them. No more he aspires for spiritual elevation, but his, heart is naturally pure from material desires. No more he makes an effort to vanquish his passion, but no passion disturbs him. No more he feels it his duty to do good to others, but he is naturally good and merciful. No more he sits in Dhyana, but he naturally lives in Dhyana at all times. It is in this fifth stage that the student is enabled to identify his Self with the Mind-King or Enlightened Consciousness, and to abide in perfect bliss.[FN#274] Ko-ko in Japanese. 13. 'The Ten Pictures of the Cowherd.'[FN#275] [FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a Chinese Zenist. For the details, see Zen-gaku-ho-ten.
Besides these Five Ranks of Merit, Zenists make use of the Ten Pictures of the Cowherd, in order to show the different stages of mental training through which the student of Zen has to go. Some poems were written by Chinese and Japanese teachers on each of these pictures by way of explanation, but they are too ambiguous to be translated into English, and we rest content with the translation of a single Japanese poem on each of the ten pictures, which are as follows:
The first picture, called 'the Searching of the Cow,' represents the cowherd wandering in the wilderness with a vague hope of finding his lost cow that is running wild out of his sight. The reader will notice that the cow is likened to the mind of the student and the cowherd to the student himself.
"I do not see my cow, But trees and grass, And hear the empty cries Of cicadas."
The second picture, called 'the Finding of the Cow's Tracks,' represents the cowherd tracing the cow with the sure hope of restoring her, having found her tracks on the ground.
"The grove is deep, and so Is my desire.
How glad I am, O lo!
I see her tracks."
"Her loud and wild mooing Has led me here;
I see her form afar,
Like a dark shadow."
The fourth 'picture, called 'the Catching of the Cow,' represents the cowherd catching hold of the cow, who struggles to break loose from him.
"Alas! it's hard to keep The cow I caught.
She tries to run and leap And snap the cord."
"I'm glad the cow so wild Is tamed and mild.
She follows me, as if She were my shadow."
"Slowly the clouds return To their own hill,
Floating along the skies So calm and still.
The seventh picture, called 'the Forgetting of the Cow and the Remembering of the Man,' represents the cowherd looking at the beautiful scenery surrounding his cottage.
"The cow goes out by day And comes by night.
I care for her in no way, But all is right."
"There's no cowherd nor cow Within the pen;
No moon of truth nor clouds Of doubt in men."
"There is no dyer of hills, Yet they are green;
So flowers smile, and titter rills At their own wills."
The tenth picture, called 'the Going into the City with Open Hands,' represents a smiling monk, gourd in hand, talking with a man who looks like a pedlar."The cares for body make
That body pine;
Let go of cares and thoughts, O child of mine!"
These Ten Pictures of the Cowherd correspond in meaning to the Five Ranks of Merit above stated, even if there is a slight difference, as is shown in the following table:THE FIVE RANKS.---THE TEN PICTURES. 1. The Rank of Turning---1. The Searching of the Cow. 2. The Finding of the Cow's Tracks. 2. The Rank of Service---3. The Finding of the Cow. 4. The Catching of the Cow. 3. The Rank of Merit---5. The Taming of the Cow. 6. The Going Home, Riding on the Cow. 4. The Rank of Co-operative Merit---9. The Returning to the Root and Source. 10. The Going into the City with Open Hands. 5. The Rank of Merit-over-Merit---7. The Forgetting of the Cow and the Remembering of the Man. 8. The Forgetting of the Cow and of the Man. 14. Zen and Nirvana.
The beatitude of Zen is Nirvana, not in the Hinayanistic sense of the term, but in the sense peculiar to the faith. Nirvana literally means extinction or annihilation; hence the extinction of life or the annihilation of individuality. To Zen, however, it means the state of extinction of pain and the annihilation of sin. Zen never looks for the realization of its beatitude in a place like heaven, nor believes in the realm of Reality transcendental of the phenomenal universe, nor gives countenance to the superstition of Immortality, nor does it hold the world is the best of all possible worlds, nor conceives life simply as blessing. It is in this life, full of shortcomings, misery, and sufferings, that Zen hopes to realize its beatitude. It is in this world, imperfect, changing, and moving, that Zen finds the Divine Light it worships. It is in this
phenomenal universe of limitation and relativity that Zen aims to attain to highest Nirvana. "We speak," says the author of Vimalakirtti-nirdeca-sutra, "of the transitoriness of body, but not of the desire of the Nirvana or destruction of it." "Paranirvana," according to the author of Lankavatarasutra, "is neither death nor destruction, but bliss, freedom, and purity." "Nirvana," says Kiai Hwan,[FN#276] "means the extinction of pain or the crossing over of the sea of life and death. It denotes the real permanent state of spiritual attainment. It does not signify destruction or
annihilation. It denotes the belief in the great root of life and spirit." It is Nirvana of Zen to enjoy bliss for all sufferings of life. It is Nirvana of Zen to be serene in mind for all disturbances of actual existence. It is Nirvana of Zen to be in the conscious union with Universal Life or Buddha through Enlightenment.
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywhere we go the rose and lily await us. "Spring visits us men," says
Gu-do,[FN#277] "her mercy is great. Every blossom holds out the image of Tathagata." "What is the spiritual body of Buddha who is immortal and divine?" asked a man to Ta Lun (Dai-ryu), who instantly replied: "The flowers cover the mountain with golden brocade. The waters tinge the rivulets with heavenly blue." "Universe is the whole body of Tathagata; observed Do-gen. "The worlds in ten directions, the earth, grass, trees, walls, fences, tiles, pebbles-in a word, all the animated and inanimate objects partake of the Buddha-nature. Thereby, those who partake in the benefit of the Wind and Water that rise out of them are, all of them, helped by the mysterious influence of Buddha, and show forth Enlightenment."[FN#278]
Thus you can attain to highest bliss through your conscious union with Buddha. Nothing can disturb your peace, when you can enjoy peace in the midst of disturbances; nothing can cause you to suffer, when you welcome misfortunes and hardships in order to train and strengthen your character; nothing can tempt you to commit sin, when you are constantly ready to listen to the sermon given by everything around you; nothing can distress you, when you make the world the holy temple of Buddha. This is the state of Nirvana which everyone believing in Buddha may secure.16. The Beatitude of Zen.
We are far from denying, as already shown in the foregoing chapters, the existence of troubles, pains, diseases, sorrows, deaths in life. Our bliss consists in seeing the fragrant rose of Divine mercy among the thorns of worldly trouble, in finding the fair oasis of Buddha's wisdom in the desert of misfortunes, in getting the wholesome balm of His love in the seeming poison of pain, in gathering the sweet honey of His spirit even in the sting of horrible death.
History testifies to the truth that it is misery that teaches men more than happiness, that it is poverty that strengthens them more than wealth, that it is adversity that moulds character more than prosperity, that it is disease and death that call forth the inner life more than health and long life. At least, no one can be blind to the fact that good and evil have an equal share in forming the character and working out the destiny of man. Even such a great pessimist as Schopenhauer says: "As our bodily frame would burst asunder if the pressure of atmosphere were removed, so if the lives of men were relieved of all need, hardship, and adversity, if everything they took in hand were successful, they would be so swollen with arrogance . . . that they would present the spectacle of unbridled folly. A ship without ballast is unstable, and will not go straight." Therefore let us make our ship of life go straight with its ballast of miseries and hardships, over which we gain control.
The believer in Buddha is thankful to him, not only for the sunshine of life, but also for its wind, rain, snow, thunder, and lightning, because He gives us nothing in vain. Hisa-nobu (Ko-yama) was, perhaps, one of the happiest persons that Japan ever produced, simply because he was ever thankful to the Merciful One. One day he went out without an umbrella and met with a shower. Hurrying up to go home, he stumbled and fell, wounding both his legs. As he rose up, he was overheard to say: "Thank heaven." And being asked why he was so thankful, replied: "I got both my legs hurt, but, thank heaven, they were not broken." On another occasion he lost consciousness, having been kicked violently by a wild horse. When he came to himself, he exclaimed: "Thank heaven," in hearty joy. Being asked the reason why he was so joyful, he answered: "I have really given up my ghost, but, thank heaven, I have escaped death after all."[FN#279]
A person in such a state of mind can do anything with heart and might. Whatever he does is an act of thanks for the grace of Buddha, and he does it, not as his duty, but as the overflowing of his gratitude which lie himself cannot check. Here exists the formation of character. Here exist real happiness and joy. Here exists the realization of Nirvana.[FN#279] Ki-jin-den.
Most people regard death as the greatest of evils, only because they fear death. They fear death only because they have the instinct of self-preservation. Hereupon pessimistic philosophy and religion propose to attain to Nirvana by the extinction of Will-to-live, or by the total annihilation of life. But this is as much as to propose death as the final cure to a patient. Elie Metchnikoff proposes, in his 'Nature of Man,' another cure, saying: 'If man could only contrive to live long enough--say, for one hundred and forty years--a natural desire for extinction would take the place of the instinct for self-preservation, and the call of death would then harmoniously satisfy his legitimate craving of a ripe old age.' Why, we must ask, do you trouble yourself so much about death? Is there any instance of an individual who escaped it in the whole history of mankind? If there be no way of escape, why do you trouble yourself about it? Can you cause things to fall off the earth against the law of
gravitation? Is there any example of an individual object that escaped the government of that law in the whole history of the world?
Why, then, do you trouble yourself about it? It is no less silly to trouble yourself about death than you do about gravitation. Can you realize that death, which you have yet no immediate experience of, is the greatest of evil? We dare to declare death to be one of the blessings which we have to be thankful for. Death is the scavenger of the world; it sweeps away all uselessness, staleness, and corruption from the world, and keeps life clean and ever now. When you are of no use for the world it comes upon you, removes you to oblivion in order to relieve life of useless encumbrance. The stream of existence should be kept running, otherwise it would become putrid. If old lives were to stop the running stream it would stand still, and consequently become filthy, poisoned, and worthless. Suppose there were only births and no deaths. The earth has to be packed with men and women, who are doomed to live to all eternity, jostling, colliding, bumping, trampling each other, and vainly struggling to get out of the Black Hole of the earth. Thanks to death we are not in the Black Hole!
Only birth and no death is far worse than only death and no birth. "The dead," says Chwang Tsz, "have no tyrannical king about, no slavish subject to meet; no change of seasons overtakes them. The heaven and the earth take the places of Spring and Autumn. The king or emperor of a great nation cannot be happier than they." How would you be if death should never overtake you when ugly decrepitude makes you blind and deaf, bodily and mentally, and deprives you of all possible pleasures? How would you be if you should not die when your body is broken to pieces or terribly burned by an accident--say, by a violent earthquake followed by a great conflagration? Just imagine Satan, immortal Satan, thrown down by the ire of God into Hell's fiery gulf, rolling himself in dreadful torture to the end of time. You cannot but conclude that it is only death which relieves you of extreme sufferings, incurable diseases, and it is one of the blessings you ought to be thankful for.
The believer of Buddha is thankful even for death itself, the which is the sole means of conquering death. If he be thankful even for death, how much more for the rest of things! He can find a meaning in every form of life. He can perceive a blessing in every change of fortune. He can acknowledge a mission for every individual. He can live in contentment and joy under any conditions. Therefore Lin Tsi (Rin-zai) says: "All the Buddhas might appear before me and I would not be glad. All the Three Regions[FN#280] and Hells might suddenly present themselves before me, and I would not fear. . . . He (an Enlightened person) might get into the fire, and it would not burn him. He might get into water, and it would not drown him. He might be born in Hell, and he would be happy as if he were in a fair garden. He might be born among Pretas and beasts, and he would not suffer from pain. How can he be so? Because he can enjoy everything.'[FN#281][FN#280] (1) Naraka, or Hell; (2) Pretas, or hungry demons; (3) beasts. [FN#281] Lin Tsi Luk (Rin-zai-roku). APPENDIX ORIGIN OF MAN (GEN-NIN-RON) BY KWEI FUNG TSUNG MIH THE SEVENTH PATRIARCH OF THE KEGON SECT TRANSLATED BY KAITEN NUKARIYA PREFACE
Tsung Mih (Shu-Mitsu, A.D. 774-841), the author of Yuen Jan Lun ('Origin of Man'), one of the greatest scholars that China ever produced, was born in a Confucianist family of the State of Kwo Cheu.
Having been converted by Tao Yuen (Do-yen), a noted priest of the Zen Sect, he was known at the age of twenty-nine as a prominent member of that sect, and became the Eleventh Patriarch after Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of the sect, who had come over to China from India about A.D. 520. Some years after he studied under Chino, Kwan (Cho-kwan) the philosophical doctrine of the Avatamsaka School, now known in Japan as the Kegon Sect, and distinguished himself as the Seventh Patriarch of that school. In A.D. 835 he was received in audience by the Emperor Wan Tsung, who questioned him in a general way about the Buddhist doctrines, and bestowed upon him the honourable title of Great Virtuous Teacher, together with abundant gifts. The author produced over ninety volumes of books, which include a commentary on Avatamsaka-sutra, one on
Purnabuddha-sutra-prasannartha-sutra, and many others. Yuen Jan Lun is one of the shortest of his essays, but it contains all the
essential doctrines, respecting the origin of life and of the
universe, which are found in Taoism, Confucianism, Hinayanism, and Mahayanism. How important a position it holds among the Buddhist books can be well imagined from the fact that over twenty
commentaries were written on it both by the Chinese and the Japanese Buddhist scholars. It is said that a short essay under the same title by a noted contemporary Confucianist scholar, Han Tui Chi (Kan-tai-shi, who flourished 803-823), suggested to him to write a book in order to make clear to the public the Buddhist view on the same subject. Thus be entitled the book 'Origin of Man,' in spite of his treating of the origin of life and of the universe. Throughout the whole book occur coupled sentences, consisting mostly of the same number of Chinese characters, and consequently while one sentence is too laconic, the other is overladen with superfluous words, put in to make the right number in the balanced group of characters. In addition to this, the text is full of too concise phrases, and often of ambiguous ones, as it is intended to state as briefly as possible all the important doctrines of the Buddhist as well as of the outside schools. On this account the author himself wrote a few notes on the passages that lie thought it necessary to explain. The reader will find these notes beginning with 'A' put by the translator to
distinguish them from his own.
All animated beings that live (under the sun) have an origin, while each of inanimate things, countless in number, owes its existence to some source.[FN#283] There can never be (any being nor) any thing that has (no origin, as there can be no) branch which has no root. How could man, the most spiritual of the Three Powers[FN#284] exist without an origin?
[FN#282] The author treats the origin of life and of the universe, but the book was entitled as we have seen in the preface. [FN#283] The same idea and expression are found in Tao Teh King (Do-toku-kyo), by Lao Tsz (Ro-shi, 604-522 B.C.).
[FN#284] The Three Powers are-(1) Heaven, that has the power of revolution; (2) Earth, that has the power of production; and (3) Man, that has the power of thought.
(It is said),[FN#285] moreover, that that which knows others is intellect, and that that which knows itself is wisdom. Now if I, being born among men, know not whence I came (into this life), how could I know whither I am going in the after-life? How could I understand all human affairs, ancient and modern, in the world? So, for some scores of years I learned under many different tutors, and read extensively (not only) the Buddhist (but also) outside books. By that means I tried to trace my Self, and never stopped my research till I attained, as I had expected, to its origin.[FN#285] The sentence is a direct quotation of Tao Teh King.
Confucianists and Taoists of our age, nevertheless, merely know that our nearest origin is the father or the grandfather, as we are descended from them, and they from their fathers in succession. (They say) that the remotest (origin) is the undefinable (primordial) Gas[FN#286] in the state of chaos; that it split itself into the two (different) principles of the Positive and the Negative; that the two brought forth the Three Powers of Heaven, Earth, and Man, which (in their turn) produced all other things; that man as well as other things originated in the Gas.
[FN#286] Such a statement concerning the creation of the universe as the one here given is found in I King (Eeki-kyo). The primordial substance is not exactly 'gas,' but we may conceive it as being something like a nebula.
(Some)[FN#287] Buddhists, (however), maintain simply that the nearest (origin) is Karma,[FN#288] as we were born among men as the results of the Karma that we had produced in the past existences; and that the remotest (origin) is the Alaya-vijnyana,[FN#289] (because) our Karma is brought forth by illusion, and (illusion by attachment), and so forth, in one word, the Alaya is the origin of life. Although all of (these scholars) claim that they have already grasped the ultimate truth, yet not in fact.
[FN#287] Not all Buddhists, but some of them, are meant here-that is, Hinayanists and Dharma-laksanists.
[FN#288] According to Hinayanists, Karma (action) is that moral germ which survives death and continues in transmigration. It may be conceived as something like an energy, by the influence of which beings undergo metempsychosis.
[FN#289] According to the Dharma-laksana Sect, Alaya-vijnyana (receptacle-knowledge) is the spiritual Substance which holds the 'seeds' or potentialities of all things.
Confucius, Lao Tsz, and Shakya, however, were all the wisest of sages. Each of them gave his teachings in a way different from the other two, that they might meet the spiritual needs of his time and fit to the capacities of men. (So that) the Buddhist and the outside doctrines, each supplementing the other, have done good to the multitude. They were all (intended) to encourage thousands of virtuous acts by explaining the whole chain of causality. They were (also intended) to investigate thousands of things, and throw light on the beginning and on the end of their evolution. Although all these doctrines (might) answer the purpose of the sages, yet there must be some teachings that would be temporary,[FN#290] while others would be eternal. The first two faiths are merely temporary, while Buddhism includes both the temporary and the eternal. We may act according to the precepts of these three faiths, which aim at the peace and welfare (of man), in so far as they encourage thousands of virtuous acts by giving warning against evil and recommending good. (But) Buddhism (alone) is altogether perfect and best of all, in investigating thousands of things and in tracing them back to their first cause, in order to acquire thorough understanding of the natures of things and to attain to the ultimate truth.
[FN#290] The temporary doctrine means the teaching preached by Shakya Muni to meet the temporary needs of the hearers. The term is always used in contrast with the real or eternal doctrine.
Each of our contemporary scholars, nevertheless, adheres to one school of the (above mentioned) teachings. And there are some (even) among the Buddhists who mistake the temporary for the eternal doctrine. In consequence they are never successful in tracing Heaven, Earth, Man, and other things back to their First Cause. But I am now (going to show how) to infer an Ultimate Cause for thousands of things, not only from the Buddhist, but from outsiders' teachings.
First I shall treat of the superficial doctrines, and then of the profound, (in order to) free the followers of the temporary faiths from those (prejudices that prove to be) obstructions in their way to the truth, and enable them to attain to the Ultimate Reality. Afterwards I shall point out, according to the perfect doctrine, how things evolved themselves through one stage after another out of the First Cause (in order to) make the incomplete doctrines fuse into the complete one, and to enable the followers to explain the phenomenal universe.[FN#291][FN#291] A. 'That is, Heaven, Earth, Man, and other things.'
This essay is entitled 'Origin of Man,' and it consists of the (following) four chapters: (1) Refutation of Delusive and Prejudiced (Doctrine); (2) Refutation of Incomplete and Superficial (Doctrine); (3) Direct Explanation of the Real Origin; (4) Reconciliation of the Temporary with the Eternal Doctrine.CHAPTER I REFUTATION OF DELUSIVE AND PREJUDICED (DOCTRINE)[FN#292]
According to Confucianism[FN#293] and Taoism all sorts of beings, such as men and beasts, were born out of and brought up by the (so-called) Great Path of Emptiness.[FN#294] That is to say, the Path by the operation of its own law gave rise naturally to the primordial Gas, and that Gas produced Heaven and Earth, which (in their turn) brought forth thousands of things. Accordingly the wise and the unwise, the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the happy and the miserable, are predestined to be so by the heavenly flat, and are at the mercy of Time and Providence. Therefore they (must) come back after death to Heaven and Earth, from which (in turn) they return to the (Path) of Emptiness. The main purpose of these[FN#295] (two) outside teachings is simply to establish morals with regard to bodily actions, but not to trace life to its First Cause. They tell of nothing beyond the phenomenal universe in their explanation of thousands of things. Though they point out the Great Path as the origin, yet they never explain in detail (what is) the direct, and (what) the indirect cause of the phenomenal universe, or how it was created, or how it will be destroyed, how life came forth, whither it will go, (what is) good, (what) evil. Therefore the followers of these doctrines adhere to them as the perfect teachings without knowing that they are merely temporary.[FN#292] A. 'Those of Confucianists and Taoists.'
[FN#293] Confucianists are not of exactly the same opinion as Taoists respecting the creation. The Great Path here mentioned refers exclusively to Taoism.
[FN#294] The Great Path of Emptiness, Hu Wu Ta Tao, is the technical name for the Taoist conception of the Absolute. It is something existent in an undeveloped state before the creation of the phenomenal universe. According to Tao Teh King, it is
'self-existent, unchangeable, all-pervading, and the mother of all things. It is unnamable, but it is sometimes called the Path or the Great.' It is also called the Emptiness, as it is entirely devoid of relative activities.
Now I (shall) raise, in brief, a few questions to point out their weaknesses. If everything in the universe, as they say, came out of the Great Path of Emptiness, that Great Path itself should be the cause of (not only) of wisdom, (but) of folly, (not only) of life, (but) of death. It ought to be the source of prosperity (as well as) of adversity, of fortune (as well as) of misfortune. If this origin exist (as it is supposed) to all eternity, it must be possible
neither to remove follies, villainies, calamities, and wars, nor to promote wisdom, good, happiness, and welfare. Of what use (then) are the teachings of Lao Tsz and Chwang Tsz?[FN#296] The Path, besides, should have reared the tiger and the wolf, given birth to
Kieh[FN#297] and Cheu,[FN#298] caused the premature deaths of Yen[FN#299] and Jan,[FN#300] and placed I[FN#301] and Tsi[FN#302] in their most lamentable condition. How could it be called a noble (path)?
[FN#296] One of the greatest Taoist philosophers, and the author of the book entitled after his name. He flourished 339-327 B.C. [FN#297] The last Emperor of the Hia dynasty, notorious for his vices. His reign was 1818-1767 B.C.[FN#298] The last Emperor of the Yin dynasty, one of the worst despots. His reign was 1154-1122 B.C. [FN#299] Yen Hwui (Gan-kai, 541-483 B.C.), a most beloved disciple of Confucius, known as a wise and virtuous scholar. [FN#300] Jan Poh Niu (Zen-pak-giu, 521- . . . B.C.), a prominent disciple, of Confucius, distinguished for his virtues. [FN#301] Poh I (Haku-i), the elder brother of Tsi, who distinguished himself by his faith and wisdom at the downfall of the Yin dynasty. [FN#302] Shuh Tsi (Shiku Sei), the brother of I, with whom he shared the same fate.
Again, if, as they say, thousands of things could come naturally into existence without direct or indirect causes, they should come forth in all places where there are neither direct nor indirect causes. For instance, a stone would bring forth grass, while grass would give birth to man, and man would beget beasts, etc. In addition to this they would come out all at the same time, nothing being produced before or after the others. They would come into existence all at the same moment, nothing being produced sooner or later than the others. Peace and welfare might be secured without the help of the wise and the good. Humanity and righteousness might be acquired without instruction and study. One might even become an immortal genius[FN#303] without taking the miraculous medicine. Why did Lao Tsz, Chwang Tsz, Cheu Kung[FN#304] and Confucius do such a useless task as to found their doctrines and lay down the precepts for men?
[FN#303] Degenerated Taoists maintained that they could prepare a certain miraculous draught, by the taking of which one could become immortal.
[FN#304] Cheu Kung (Shu-ko), a most noted statesman and scholar, the younger brother of the Emperor Wu (1122-1116 B.C.), the founder of the Chen dynasty.
Again, if all things, as they say, were made of the primordial Gas (which has no feeling nor will), how could an infant, just born of the Gas, who had never learned to think, or love, or hate, or to be naughty, or wilful (even begin to think or feel)? If, as they may answer, the infant as soon as it was born could quite naturally love or hate, etc., as it wished, it could (as well) gain the Five
Virtues[FN#305] and the Six Acquirements,[FN#306] as it wished. Why does it wait for some direct or indirect causes (to gain its
knowledge), and to acquire them through study and instruction?
Again, they might say life suddenly came into existence, it being formed of the Gas, and suddenly goes to naught (at death), the Gas being dispersed. What, then, are the spirits of the dead (which they believe in)? Besides, there are in history some instances of persons[FN#307] who could see through previous existences, or of persons[FN#308] who recollected the events in their past lives. Therefore we know that the present is the continuation of the past life, and that it did not come into existence on a sudden by the formation of a Gas. Again, there are some historical facts[FN#309] proving that the supernatural powers of spirits will not be lost. Thus we know that life is not to be suddenly reduced to naught after death by the dispersion of the Gas. Therefore (matters concerning) sacrifices, services, and supplications (to the spirits) are
mentioned in the sacred books.[FN#310] Even more than that! Are there not some instances, ancient and modern, of persons who revived after death to tell the matters concerning the unseen world, or who[FN#311] appeared to move the hearts of their wives and children a while after death, or who[FN#312] took vengeance (on the enemy), or who[FN#313] returned favours (to their friends)?
[FN#307] According to Tsin Shu, a man, Pao Tsing by name, told his parents, when he was five years, that he had been in the previous life a son to Li, an inhabitant of Kuh Yang, and that he had fallen into the well and died. Thereupon the parents called on Li, and found, to their astonishment, that the boy's statement was actually coincident with the fact.
[FN#308] Yan Hu, a native of Tsin Chen, recollected, at the age of five, that he had been a son to the next-door neighbour, and that he had left his ring under a mulberry-tree close by the fence of the house. Thereupon he went with his nurse and successfully restored it, to the astonishment of the whole family.[FN#309] All the ancient sages of China believed in spirits, and propitiated them by sacrifices. [FN#310] The sacred books of Confucianism, Shu King and Li Ki. [FN#311] Pang Shang, the Prince of Tsi, is said to have appeared after his death. [FN#312] Poh Yiu, of Ching, is said to have become an epidemic spirit to take vengeance on his enemies.
[FN#313] According to Tso Chwen (Sa-den), when Wei Wu, a General of Tsin, fought with Tu Hwui, the dead father of his concubine appeared, and prevented the march of the enemy in order to return favours done to him.
The outside scholars might ask, by way of objection, if one live as a spirit after death, the spirits of the past would fill up streets and roads, and be seen by men; and why are there no eye-witnesses? I say in reply that (as) there are the Six Worlds[FN#314] for the dead, they do not necessarily live in the world of spirits. (Even as spirits) they must die and be born again among men or other beings. How can the spirits of the past always live in a crowd? Moreover, if (as you say) man was born of (primordial) Gas which gave rise to Heaven and Earth, and which was unconscious from the very beginning, how could he be conscious all on a sudden after his birth? Why are trees and grass which were also formed of the same Gas unconscious? Again, if, (as you say), the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the wise and the unwise, the good and the bad, the happy and the unhappy, the lucky and the unlucky, are predestinated alike by heavenly decree, why are so many destined by heaven to be poor and so few to be rich? Why so many to be low and so few to be high? In short, why are so many destined to be unlucky and so few to be lucky?
[FN#314] (1) The heaven, or the world for Devas; (2) the earth, or the world for men; (3) the world for Asuras; (4) the world for Petras; (5) the world for beasts; (6) hell.
If it be the will of Heaven to bless so limited a number of persons at all, and to curse so many, why is Heaven so partial? Even more than that! Are there not many who hold a high position without any meritorious conduct, while some are placed in a low one in spite of their keeping to (the rules of) conduct? Are there not many who are rich without any virtues, while some are poor in spite of their virtues? Are there not the unjust who are fortunate, while the just are unfortunate? Are there not the humane, who die young, while the inhuman enjoy long lives? In short, the righteous (are doomed) to perish, while the unrighteous prosper! Thus (we must infer) that all this depends on the heavenly will, which causes the unrighteous to prosper and the righteous to perish. How can there be reward for the good (as it is taught in your sacred books),[FN#315] that Heaven blesses the good and shows grace to the humble? How can there be punishment for the bad (as it is taught in your holy books),[FN#316] that Heaven curses the evil and inflicts punishment on the proud?
Again, if even all such evils as wars, treacheries, and rebellions depend on the heavenly will, those Sages would be in the wrong who, in the statement of their teaching, censure or chastise men, but not Heaven or the heavenly will. Therefore, even if Shi[FN#317] is full of reproofs against maladministration, while Shu[FN#318] of eulogies for the reigns of the wisest monarchs-even if Propriety[FN#319] is recommended as a most effectual means of creating peace between the governors and the governed, while Music[FN#320] (is recommended as a means of) ameliorating the customs and manners of the people--still, they can hardly be said to realize the Will on High or to conform to the wishes of the Creator. Hence you must acknowledge that those who devote themselves to the study of these doctrines are not able to trace man to his origin.[FN#317] Shu King, a famous book of odes. [FN#318] Shu King, the records of the administrations of the wisest monarchs of old. [FN#319] Li Ki, the book on proprieties and etiquette. [FN#320] It is said in Hiao King that music is the best means to improve customs and manners. CHAPTER II REFUTATION OF INCOMPLETE AND SUPERFICIAL (DOCTRINE)[FN#321]
There are in the Buddhist doctrines, to state briefly, the five grades (of development), beginning with the most superficial, and ending with the most profound teachings. (They are as follows:) (1) The Doctrine for Men and Devas; (2) the Doctrine of the Hinayanists; (3) the Mahayana Doctrine of Dharma-laksana; (4) the Mahayana Doctrine of the Nihilists[FN#322]; (5) the Ekaydna Doctrine that teaches the Ultimate Reality.[FN#323][FN#321] A. 'The imperfect doctrines taught by the Buddha.' [FN#322] A. 'These first four doctrines are treated of in this chapter.' [FN#323] A. 'This is mentioned in the third chapter.' 1. The Doctrine for Men and Devas.
The Buddha, to meet temporarily the spiritual needs of the uninitiated, preached a doctrine concerning good or bad Karma as the cause, and its retribution as the effect, in the three existences (of the past, the present, and the future). That is, one who commits the tenfold sin[FN#324] must be reborn after death in hell, when these sins are of the highest grade;[FN#325] among Pretas,[FN#326] when of the middle grade; and among animals, when of the lowest grade.
[FN#324] (1) Taking life, (2) theft, (3) adultery, (4) lying, (5) exaggeration, (6) abuse, (7) ambiguous talk, (8) coveting, (9) malice, (10) unbelief.
[FN#325] There are three grades in each of the tenfold sin. For instance, the taking of the life of a Buddha, or of a sage, or of a parent, etc., is of the highest grade; while to kill fellow-men is of the middle; and to kill beasts and birds, etc., is of the lowest. Again, to kill any being with pleasure is of the highest grade; while to repent after killing is of the middle; and killing by mistake is of the lowest.[FN#326] Hungry spirits.
Therefore the Buddha for a temporary purpose made these (uninitiated) observe the Five Precepts similar to the Five Virtues[FN#327] of the outside doctrine, in order to enable them to escape the three (worst) States[FN#328] of Existence, and to be reborn among men. (He also taught that) those who cultivate[FN#329] the tenfold virtue[FN#330] of the highest grade, and who give alms, and keep the precepts, and so forth, are to be born in the Six Celestial Realms of Kama[FN#331] while those who practise the Four[FN#332] Dhyanas, the Eight Samadhis,[FN#333] are to be reborn in the heavenly worlds of Rupa[FN#334] and Arupa. For this reason this doctrine is called the doctrine for men and Devas. According to this doctrine Karma is the origin of life.[FN#335][FN#327] The five cardinal virtues of Confucianism are quite similar to the five precepts of Buddhism, as we see by this table: VIRTUES.---PRECEPTS.
1. Humanity.---1. Not to take life.
2. Uprightness.---2. Not to steal.
3. Propriety.---3. Not to be adulterous.
4. Wisdom.---4. Not to get drunk.
5. Sincerity.---5. Not to lie.
[FN#329] A. 'The Buddhist precepts are different from the Confucian teachings in the form of expression, but they agree in their warning against the evil and in encouraging the good. The moral conduct of the Buddhist can be secured by the cultivation of the five virtues of humanity, uprightness, etc., as though people in this country hold up their hands joined in the respectable salutation, while the same object is attained by those of The Fan, who stand with their bands hanging down. Not to kill is humanity. Not to steal is uprightness.
Not to be adulterous is propriety. Not to lie is sincerity. Not to drink spirits nor eat meat is to increase wisdom, keeping mind pure.' [FN#330] (1) Not to take life, (2) not to steal, (3) not to be adulterous, (4) not to lie, (5) not to exaggerate, (6) not to abuse, (7) not to talk ambiguously, (8) not to covet, (9) not to be malicious, (10) not to unbelieve.
[FN#331] Kama-loka, the world of desire, is the first of the Three Worlds. It consists of the earth and the six heavenly worlds, all the inhabitants of which are subject to sensual desires.
[FN#332] The Buddhists taught the four Dhyanas, or the four different degrees of abstract contemplation, by which the mind could free itself from all subjective and objective trammels, until it reached a state of absolute absence of unconcentrated thought. The practiser of the four Dhyanas would be born in the four regions of the Rupa-lokas in accordance with his spiritual state.
[FN#333] Namely, the above-mentioned four degrees of contemplation, and other four deeper ecstatic meditations. The practiser of the latter would be born in the four spiritual regions of Arupa-loka in accordance with his state of abstraction.
[FN#334] Rupa-loka, the world of form, is the second of the Three Worlds. It consists of eighteen heavens, which were divided into four regions. The first Dhyana region comprised the first three of the eighteen heavens, the second Dhyana region the next three, the third Dhyana region the following three, and the fourth Dhyana region the remaining nine.
Arupa-loka, the world of formlessness, is the third of the Three Worlds. It consists of four heavens. The first is called 'the heaven of unlimited space,' the second 'the heaven of unlimited knowledge,' the third 'the heaven of absolute non-existence,' the fourth 'the heaven of neither consciousness nor unconsciousness.'
A. 'None of heavens, or of hells, or of the worlds of spirits, is mentioned in the title of this book, because these worlds are entirely different from ours, and absolutely beyond the sight and hearing. Ordinary people know not even the phenomena actually occurring before them; how could they understand the unseen? So I entitled it simply, "The Origin of Man " in agreement with the worldly teachings. Now that I treat, however, of the Buddhist doctrine, it is reasonable to enumerate these worlds in full.'
[FN#335] A. 'But there are three sorts of Karmas: (1) The bad, (2) the good, (3) the immovable. There are the three periods for retribution: (1) In this life, (2) in the next life, (3) in some remote future life.'
Now let me raise some questions by way of objection. Granting that one has to be born in the Five States of Existences[FN#336] by virtue of Karma produced (in previous lives), is it not doubtful who is the author of Karma, and who the recipient of its consequences? If it might be said that the eyes, ears, hands, and feet produce Karma, then the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of a newly-dead person are still as they were. So why do they not see and hear and thus produce Karma?[FN#336] The states of--(1) heavenly beings, (2) men, (3) beings in hell, (4) hungry spirits, (5) beasts.
If it be said that it is the mind that produces Karma (I ask), what is the mind? If you mean the heart, the heart is a material thing, and is located within the body. How can it, by coming quickly into the eyes and ears, distinguish the pleasing from the disgusting in external objects? If there be no distinction between the pleasing and the disgusting, why does it accept the one or reject the other?
Besides, the heart is as much material and impenetrable as the eyes, ears, hands, and feet. How, then, can the heart within freely pass to the organs of sense without? How can this one put the others in motion, or communicate with them, in order to co-operate in producing Karma?
If it be said that only such passions as joy, anger, love, and hatred act through the body and the mouth and enable them to produce Karma, (I should say) those passions--joy, anger, and the rest--are too transitory, and come and go in a moment. They have no Substance (behind their appearances). What, then, is the chief agent that produces Karma?
It might be said that we should not seek after (the author of Karma) by taking mind and body separately (as we have just done), because body and mind, as a whole, conjointly produce Karma. Who, then, after the destruction of body by death, would receive the retribution (in the form) of pain or of pleasure?
If it be assumed that another body is to come into existence after death, then the body and mind of the present life, committing sins or cultivating virtues, would cause another body and mind in the future which would suffer from the pains or enjoy the pleasures. Accordingly, those who cultivate virtues would be extremely unlucky, while those who commit sins very lucky. How can the divine law of causality be so unreasonable? Therefore we (must) acknowledge that those who merely follow this doctrine are far from a thorough understanding of the origin of life, though they believe in the theory of Karma.2. The Doctrine of the Hinayanists.
This doctrine tells us that (both) the body, that is formed of matter, and the mind, that thinks and reflects, continually exist from eternity to eternity, being destroyed and recreated by means of direct or indirect causes, just as the water of a river glides continually, or the flame of a lamp keeps burning constantly. Mind and body unite themselves temporarily, and seem to be one and changeless. The common people, ignorant of all this, are attached to (the two combined) as being Atman.[FN#337][FN#337] Atman means ego, or self, on which individuality is based.
For the sake of this Atman, which they hold to be the most precious thing (in the world), they are subject to the Three Poisons Of lust,[FN#338] anger,[FN#339] and folly,[FN#340] which (in their turn) give impulse to the will and bring forth Karma of all kinds through speech and action. Karma being thus produced, no one can evade its effects. Consequently all must be born[FN#341] in the Five States of Existence either to suffer pain or to enjoy pleasure; some are born in the higher places, while others in the lower of the Three Worlds.[FN#342][FN#338] A. 'The passion that covets fame and gain to keep oneself in prosperity.' [FN#339] A. 'The passion against disagreeable things, for fear of their inflicting injuries on oneself.' [FN#340] A. 'Wrong thoughts and inferences.' [FN#341] A. 'Different sorts of beings are born by virtue of the individualizing Karma.' [FN#342] A. 'Worlds are produced by virtue of the Karma common to all beings that live in them.'
When born (in the future lives) they are attached again to the body (and mind) as Atman, and become subject to lust and the other two passions. Karma is again produced by them, and they have to receive its inevitable results. (Thus) body undergoes birth, old age, disease, death, and is reborn after death; while the world passes through the stages of formation, existence, destruction, and emptiness, and is re-formed again after emptiness. Kalpa after Kalpa[FN#343] (passes by), life after life (comes on), and the circle of continuous rebirths knows no beginning nor end, and resembles the pulley for drawing water from the well.[FN#344]
[FN#343] Kalpa, a mundane cycle, is not reckoned by months and years. lt is a period during which a physical universe is formed to the moment when another is put into its place.
A. "The following verses describe how the world was first created in the period of emptiness: A strong wind began to blow through empty space. Its length and breadth were infinite. It was 16 lakhs thick, and so strong that it could not be cut even with a diamond. Its name was the world-supporting-wind. The golden clouds of Abhasvara heaven (the sixth of eighteen heavens of the Rupa-loka) covered all the skies of the Three Thousand Worlds. Down came the heavy rain, each drop being as large as the axle of a waggon. The water stood on the wind that checked its running down. It was 11 lakhs deep. The first layer was made of adamant (by the congealing water). Gradually the cloud poured down the rain and filled it. First the Brahma-raja worlds, next the Yama-heaven (the third of six heavens of the Kama loka), were made. The pure water rose up, driven by the wind, and Sumeru, (the central mountain, or axis of the universe) and the seven concentric circles of mountains, and so on, were formed. Out of dirty sediments the mountains, the four continents, the hells, oceans, and outer ring of mountains, were made. This is called the formation of the universe. The time of one Increase and one Decrease (human life is increased from 10 to 84,000 years, increasing by one year at every one hundred years; then it is decreased from 84,000 to 10 years, decreasing by one year at every one hundred years) elapsed.
In short, those beings in the second region of Rupa-loka, whose good Karma had spent its force, came down on the earth. At first there were the 'earth bread' and the wild vine for them. Afterwards they could not completely digest rice, and began to excrete and to urinate. Thus men were differentiated from women. They divided the cultivated land among them. Chiefs were elected; assistants and subjects were sought out; hence different classes of people. A period of nineteen Increases and Decreases elapsed. Added to the above-mentioned period, it amounted to twenty Increases and Decreases. This is called the Kalpa of the formation of the universe.
"Now let us discuss this point. The Kalpa of Emptiness is what the Taoist calls the Path of Emptiness. The Path or the Reality, however, is not empty, but bright, transcendental, spiritual, and omnipresent. Lao Tsz, led by his mistaken idea, called the Kalpa of Emptiness the Path; otherwise he did so for the temporary purpose of denouncing worldly desires. The wind in the empty space is what the Taoist calls the undefinable Gas in the state of Chaos. Therefore Lao Tsz said, 'The Path brings forth one.' The golden clouds, the first of all physical objects, is (what the Confucianist calls) the First Principle. The rain-water standing (on the wind) is the production of the Negative Principle. The Positive, united with the Negative, brought forth the phenomenal universe. The
Brahma-raja-loka, the Sumeru, and others, are what they call the Heaven. The dirty waters and sediment are the Earth. So Lao Tsz said, 'One produces two.' Those in the second region of the Rupra-loka, whose good Karma had spent its force, came down upon the earth and became human beings. Therefore Lao Tsz said, 'The two produce three.' Thus the Three Powers were completed. The earth-bread and different classes of people, and so on, are the so-called 'production of thousands of things by the Three.' This was the time when people lived in eaves or wandered in the wilderness, and knew not the use of fire. As it belongs to the remote past of the prehistoric age, previous to the reigns of the first three
Emperors, the traditions handed down to us are neither clear nor certain. Many errors crept into them one generation after another, and consequently no one of the statements given in the various works of scholars agrees with another. Besides, when the Buddhist books explain the formation of the Three Thousand Worlds, they do not confine themselves merely within the limits of this country. Hence their records are entirely different from those of the outsiders (which are confined to China).
"'Existence' means the Kalpa of Existence that lasts twenty Increases and Decreases. 'Destruction' means the Kalpa of Destruction that lasts also twenty Increases and Decreases. During the first nineteen Increases and Decreases living beings are destroyed; while in the last worlds are demolished through the three periods of distress (1) the period of water, (2) the period of fire, (3) the period of wind. 'Emptiness' means the Kalpa of Emptiness, during which no beings nor worlds exist. This Kalpa also lasts twenty Increases and Decreases." [FN#344] A. 'Taoists merely know that there was one Kalpa of Emptiness before the formation of this present universe, and point out the Emptiness, the Chaos, the primordial Gas, and the rest, naming them as the first or the beginningless. But they do not know that the universe had already gone through myriads of cycles of Kalpas of formation, existence, destruction, and emptiness. Thus even the most superficial of the Hinayana doctrines far excels the most profound of the outside doctrines.'
All this is due to Ignorance which does not understand that no bodily existence, by its very nature, can be Atman. The reason why it is not Atman is this, that its formation is, after all, due to the union of matter and mind. Now (let us) examine and analyze (mind and body). Matter consists of the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind, while mind consists of the four aggregates of
perception,[FN#345] consciousness,[FN#346] conception,[FN#347] and knowledge.[FN#348]
[FN#345] A. 'It receives both the agreeable and the disagreeable impressions from without.' It is Yedana, the second of the five Skandhas, or aggregates.[FN#346] A. 'It perceives the forms of external objects.' It is Samjnya, name, the third of the five aggregates. [FN#347] A. 'It acts, one idea changing after another.' It is Samskara, the fourth of the five aggregates. [FN#348] A. 'It recognizes.' It is Vijnyana, the last of the five aggregates.
If all (these elements) be taken as Atman, there must be eight Atmans (for each person). More than that! There are many different things, even in the element of earth. Now, there are three hundred and sixty bones, each one distinct from the other. No one is the same as any other, either of the skin, hair, muscles, the liver, the heart, the spleen, and the kidneys. Furthermore, there are a great many mental qualities each different from the others. Sight is different from hearing. Joy is not the same as anger. If we enumerate them, in short, one after another, there are eighty thousand passions.[FN#349]
[FN#349] Eighty thousand simply means a great many. As things are thus so innumerable, none can tell which of these (without mistake) is to be taken as the Atman. In case all be taken as the Atman, there must be hundreds and thousands of Atmans, among which there would be as many conflicts and disturbances as there are masters living in the one (house of) body. As there exists no body nor mind separated from these things, one can never find the Atman, even if he seeks for it over and over again.
Hereupon anyone understands that this life (of ours) is no more than the temporary union of numerous elements (mental and physical). Originally there is no Atman to distinguish one being from another. For whose sake, then, should he be lustful or angry? For whose sake should he take life,[FN#350] or commit theft, or give alms, or keep precepts? (Thus thinking) at length he sets his mind free from the virtues and vices subjected to the passions[FN#351] of the Three Worlds, and abides in the discriminative insight into (the nature of) the Anatman[FN#352] only.
By means of that discriminative insight he makes himself pure from lust, and the other (two passions) puts an end to various sorts of Karma, and realizes the Bhutatathata[FN#353] of Anatman. In brief, he attains to the State of Arhat,[FN#354] has his body reduced to ashes, his intelligence annihilated, and entirely gets rid of sufferings.
[FN#350] A. 'He understands the truth of misery.' The truth of Duhkha, or misery, is the first of the four Noble Satyas, or Truths, that ought to be realized by the Hinayanists. According to the Hinayana doctrine, misery is a necessary concomitant of sentient life.'
[FN#351] A. 'He destroys Samudaya.' The truth of Samudaya, or accumulation, the second of the four Satyas, means that misery is accumulated or produced by passions. This truth should be realized by the removal of passions.
[FN#352] A. 'This is the truth of Marga.' The truth of Marga, or Path, is the fourth of the four Satyas. There are the eight right Paths that lead to the extinction of passions; (1) Right view (to discern truth), (2) right thought (or purity of will and thought), (3) right speech (free from nonsense and errors), (4) right action, (5) right diligence, (6) right meditation, (7) right memory, (8) right livelihood.
[FN#353] A. 'This is the truth of Nirodha.' Nirodha, or destruction, the third of the four Satyas, means the extinction of passions. Bhutatathati of Anatman means the truth of the non existence of Atma or soul, and is the aim and end of the Hinayanist philosophy.
[FN#354] Arhat, the Killer of thieves (i.e., passions), means one who conquered his passions. It means, secondly, one who is exempted from birth, or one who is free from transmigration. Thirdly, it means one deserving worship. So the Arhat is the highest sage who has attained to Nirvana by the destruction of all passions.
According to the doctrine of this school the two aggregates, material and spiritual, together with lust, anger, and folly, are the origin of ourselves and of the world in which we live. There exists nothing else, either in the past or in the future, that can be regarded as the origin.
Now let us say (a few words) by way of refutation. That which (always) stands as the origin of life, birth after birth, generation after generation, should exist by itself without cessation. Yet the Five Vijnyanas[FN#355] cease to perform their functions when they lack proper conditions, (while) the Mano-vijnyana[FN#356] is lost at times (in unconsciousness). There are none of those four (material) elements in the heavenly worlds of Arupa. How, then, is life sustained there and kept up in continuous birth after birth? Therefore we know that those who devote themselves to the study of this doctrine also cannot trace life to its origin.
[FN#355] A. 'The conditions are the Indriyas and the Visayas, etc.' Indriyas are organs of sense, and Visayas are objects on which the sense acts. Five Vijnyanas are--(1) The sense of sight, (2) the sense of hearing, (3) the sense of smell, (4) the sense of taste, (5) the sense of touch.
[FN#356] Mano-vijnyana is the mind itself, and the last of the six Vijnyanas of the Hinayana doctrine. A. '(For instance), in a state of trance, in deep slumber, in Nirodha-samapatti (where no thought exists), in Asamjnyi-samapatti (in which no consciousness exists), and in Avrhaloka (the thirteenth of Brahmalokas).
3. The Mahayana Doctrine of Dharmalaksana.[FN#357] This doctrine tells us that from time immemorial all sentient beings naturally have eight different Vijnyanas[FN#358] and the eighth, Alaya-vijnyana,[FN#359] is the origin of them. (That is), the Alaya suddenly brings forth the 'seeds'[FN#360] of living beings and of the world in which they live, and through transformation gives rise to the seven Vijnyanas. Each of them causes external objects on which it acts to take form and appear. In reality there is nothing
externally existent. How, then, does Alaya give rise to them through transformation? Because, as this doctrine tells us, we habitually form the erroneous idea that Atman and external objects exist in reality, and it acts upon Alaya and leaves its impressions[FN#361] there. Consequently, when Vijnyanas are awakened, these impressions (or the seed-ideas) transform and present themselves (before the mind's eye) Atman and external objects.
[FN#357] This school studies in the main the nature of things (Dharma), and was so named. The doctrine is based on
Avatamsaka-sutra and Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra, and was systematized by Asamga and Vasu-bandhu. The latter's book,
Vidyamatra-siddhi-castra-karika, is held to be the best authoritative work of the school.
[FN#358] (1) The sense of sight; (2) the sense of hearing; (3) the sense of smell; (4) the sense of taste; (5) the sense of touch; (6) Mano-vijnyana (lit., mind-knowledge), or the perceptive faculty; (7) Klista-mano-vijnyana (lit., soiled-mind-knowledge), or an introspective faculty; (8) Alaya-vijnyana (lit.,
receptacle-knowledge), or ultimate-mind-substance.
[FN#360] This school is an extreme form of Idealism, and maintains that nothing separated from the Alaya can exist externally. The mind-substance, from the first, holds the seed ideas of everything, and they seem to the non-enlightened mind to be the external universe, but are no other than the transformation of the seed-ideas.
The five senses, and the Mano-vijnyana acting on them, take them for external objects really existent, while the seventh Vijnyana mistakes the eighth for Atman.
[FN#361] The non-enlightened mind, habitually thinking that Atman and external objects exist, leaves the impression of the seed-ideas on its own Alaya.
Then the sixth and the seventh[FN#362] Vijnyana veiled with Avidya, dwelling on them, mistake them for real Atman and the real external objects. This (error) may be compared with one diseased[FN#363] in the eye, who imagines that he sees various things (floating in the air) on account of his illness; or with a dreamer[FN#364] whose fanciful thoughts assume various forms of external objects, and present themselves before him. While in the dream he fancies that there exist external objects in reality, but on awakening he finds that they are nothing other than the transformation of his dreaming thoughts.
So are our lives. They are no other than the transformation of the Vijnyanas; but in consequence of illusion, we take them for the Atman and external objects existing in reality. From these erroneous ideas arise delusive thoughts that lead to the production of Karma; hence the round-of rebirth to time without end.[FN#365] When we understand these reasons, we can realize the fact that our lives are nothing but transformations of the Vijnyanas, and that the (eighth) Vijnyana is the origin.[FN#366][FN#365] A. 'As it was detailed above.' [FN#366] A. 'An imperfect doctrine, which is refuted later.' 4. Mahayana Doctrine of the Nihilists.
This doctrine disproves (both) the Mahayana and the Hinayana doctrines above mentioned that adhere to Dharma-laksana, and suggestively discloses the truth of Transcendental Reality which is to be treated later.[FN#367] Let me state, first of all, what it would say in the refutation of Dharma-laksana.
[FN#367] A. "The nihilistic doctrine is stated not only in the
various Prajnya-sutras (the books having Prajnya-paramita in their titles), but also in almost all Mahayana sutras. The above-mentioned three doctrines were preached (by the Buddha) in the three successive periods. But this doctrine was not preached at any particular period; it was intended to destroy at any time the attachment to the phenomenal objects. Therefore Nagarjuna tells us that there are two sorts of Prajnyas, the Common and the Special. The Çravakas (lit., hearers) and the Pratyekabuddhas (lit., singly enlightened ones), or the Hinayanists, could hear and believe in, with the Bodhisattvas or the Mahayanists, the Common Prajnya, as it was intended to destroy their attachment to the external objects. Bodhisattvas alone could understand the Special Prajnya, as it secretly revealed the Buddha nature, or the Absolute. Each of the two great Indian teachers, Çilabhadra and Jnyanaprabha, divided the whole teachings of the Buddha into three periods. (According to Çilabhadra, A.D. 625, teacher of Hiuen Tsang, the Buddha first preached the doctrine of 'existence' to the effect that every living being is unreal, but things are real. All the Hinayana sutras belong to this period. Next the Buddha preached the doctrine of the middle path, in Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra and others, to the effect that all the phenomenal universe is unreal, but that the mental substance is real. According to Jnyanaprabha, the Buddha first preached the doctrine of existence, next that of the existence of mental substance, and lastly that of unreality.) One says the doctrine of unreality was preached before that of
Dharma-laksana, while the others say it was preached after. Here I adopt the latters' opinion."
If the external objects which are transformed are unreal, how can the Vijnyana, the transformer, be real? If you say the latter is really existent, but not the former,[FN#368] then (you assume that) the dreaming mind (which is compared with Alaya-vijnyana) is entirely different from the objects seen in the dream (which are compared with external objects). If they are entirely different, you ought not to identify the dream with the things dreamed, nor to identify the things dreamed with the dream itself. In other words, they ought to have separate existences. (And) when you awake your dream may disappear, but the things dreamed would remain.
[FN#368] A. 'In the following sentences I refute it, making use of the simile of the dream.'
Again, if (you say) that the things dreamed are not identical with the dream, then they would be really existent things. If the dream is not the same as the things dreamed, in what other form does it appear to you? Therefore you must acknowledge that there is every reason to believe that both the dreaming mind and the things dreamed are equally unreal, and that nothing exists in reality, though it seems to you as if there were a seer, and a seen, in a dream.
Thus those Vijnyanas also would be unreal, because all of them are not self-existent realities, their existence being temporary, and dependent upon various conditions.
"There is nothing," (the author of) Madhyamika-castra[FN#369] says, "that ever came into existence without direct and indirect causes. Therefore there is anything that is not unreal in the world." He says again: "Things produced through direct and indirect causes I declare to be the very things which are unreal." (The author of) Craddhotdada-castra[FN#370] says: "All things in the universe present themselves in different forms only on account of false ideas. If separated from the (false) ideas and thoughts, no forms of those external objects exist." "All the physical forms (ascribed to Buddha)," says (the author of) a sutra,[FN#371] "are false and unreal. The beings that transcend all forms are called
Buddhas."[FN#372] Consequently you must acknowledge that mind as well as external objects are unreal. This is the eternal truth of the Mahayana doctrine. We are driven to the conclusion that unreality is the origin of life, if we trace it back according to this doctrine.
[FN#369] The principal textbook of the Madhyamika School, by Nagarjuna and Nilanetra, translated into Chinese (A.D. 409) by Kumarajiva.
[FN#370] A well-known Mahayana book ascribed to Acvaghosa, translated into Chinese by Paramartha. There exists an English translation by D. Suzuki.[FN#371] Vajracchedha-prajnya-paramita-sutra, of which there exist three Chinese translations. [FN#372] A. 'Similar passages are found in every book of the
Now let us say (a few words) to refute this doctrine also. If mind as well as external objects be unreal, who is it that knows they are so? Again, if there be nothing real in the universe, what is it that causes unreal objects to appear? We stand witness to the fact there is no one of the unreal things on earth that is not made to appear by something real. If there be no water of unchanging fluidity,[FN#373] how can there be the unreal and temporary forms of waves? If there be no unchanging mirror, bright and clean, how can there be various images, unreal and temporary, reflected in it? It is true in sooth that the dreaming mind as well as the things dreamed, as said above, are equally unreal, but does not that unreal dream necessarily presuppose the existence of some (real) sleepers?
Now, if both mind and external objects, as declared above, be nothing at all, no- one can tell what it is that causes these unreal appearances. Therefore this doctrine, we know, simply serves to refute the erroneous theory held by those who are passionately attached to Dharma-laksana, but never clearly discloses spiritual Reality. So that Mahabheri-harakaparivarta-sutra[FN#374] says as follows: "All the sutras that teach the unreality of things belong to an imperfect doctrine (of the Buddha).
Mahaprajnya-paramita-sutra[FN#375] says: "The doctrine of unreality is the first entrance-gate to Mahayanism."
[FN#375] This is not the direct quotation from the sutra translated by Hiuen Tsang. The words are found in Mahaprajnya-paramita-sutra, the commentary on the sutra by Nagarjuna.When the above-mentioned four doctrines are compared with one another in the order of succession, each is more profound than the preceding.
They are called the superficial, provided that the follower,
learning them a short while, knows them by himself to be imperfect; (but) if he adheres to them as perfect, these same (doctrines) are called incomplete. They are (thus) said to be superficial and incomplete with regard to the follower.
This doctrine teaches us that all sentient beings have the Real Spirit[FN#377] of Original Enlightenment (within themselves). From time immemorial it is unchanging and pure. It is eternally bright, and clear, and conscious. It is also named the Buddha-nature, or Tathagata-garbha.[FN#378] As it is, however, veiled by illusion from time without beginning, (sentient beings) are not conscious of its existence, and think that the nature within themselves are degenerated. Consequently they are given to bodily pleasures, and producing Karma, suffer from birth and death. The great Enlightened One, having compassion on them, taught that everything in the universe is unreal. He pointed out that the Real Spirit of
Mysterious Enlightenment (within them) is pure and exactly the same as that of Buddha. Therefore he says in Avatamsaka-sutra[FN#379]: "There are no sentient beings, the children of Buddha, who are not endowed with wisdom of Tathagata;[FN#380] but they cannot attain to Enlightenment simply because of illusion and attachment. When they are free from illusion, the Universal Intelligence,[FN#381] the Natural Intelligence,[FN#382] the Unimpeded Intelligence,[FN#383] will be disclosed (in their minds)."
[FN#377] The ultimate reality is conceived by the Mahayanist as an entity self-existent, omnipresent, spiritual, impersonal, free from all illusions. It may be regarded as something like the universal and enlightened soul.[FN#378] Tathagata's womb, Tathagata being another name for Buddha. [FN#379] The book was translated into Chinese by Buddhabhadra, A.D. 418-420. [FN#380] The highest epithet of the Buddha, meaning one who comes into the world like the coming of his predecessors. [FN#381] The all-knowing wisdom that is acquired by Enlightenment. [FN#382] The inborn wisdom of the Original Enlightenment. [FN#383] The wisdom that is acquired by the union of Enlightenment with the Original Enlightenment.
Then he tells a parable of a single grain of minute dust[FN#384] containing large volumes of Sutra, equal in dimension of the Great Chiliocosmos.[FN#385] The grain is compared with a sentient being, and the Sutra with the wisdom of Buddha. Again he says
later:[FN#386] "Once Tathagata, having observed every sort of sentient beings all over the universe, said as follows: 'Wonderful, how wonderful! That these various sentient beings, endowed with the wisdom of Tathagata, are not conscious of it because of their errors and illusions! I shall teach them the sacred truth and make them free from illusion for ever. I shall (thus) enable them to find by themselves the Great Wisdom of Tathagatha within them and make them equal to Buddha.'
[FN#385] According to the Buddhist literature, one universe comprises one sun, one moon, one central mountain or Sumeru, four continents, etc. One thousand of these universes form the Small Thousand Worlds; one thousand of the Small Thousand Worlds form the Middle Thousand Worlds; and the Great Thousand Worlds, or Great Chiliocosmos, comprises one thousand of the Middle Thousand Worlds.[FN#386] This is not an exact quotation of the sutra.
Let me say (a few words) about this doctrine by way of criticism. So many Kalpas we spent never meeting with this true doctrine, and knew not how to trace our life back to its origin. Having been attached to nothing but the unreal outward forms, we willingly acknowledged ourselves to be a common herd of lowly beings. Some regarded themselves as beasts, (while) others as men.
But now, tracing life to its origin according to the highest
doctrine, we have fully understood that we ourselves were originally Buddhas. Therefore we should act in conformity to Buddha's (action), and keep our mind in harmony with his. Lot us betake ourselves once more to the source of Enlightened Spirit, restoring ourselves to the original Buddhahood. Let us cut off the bond of attachment, and remove the illusion that common people are habitually given to.
Illusion being destroyed,[FN#387] the will to destroy it is also removed, and at last there remains nothing to be done (except complete peace and joy). This naturally results in Enlightenment, whose practical uses are as innumerable as the grains of sand in the Ganges. This state is called Buddhahood. We should know that the illusory as well as the Enlightened are originally of one and the same Real Spirit. How great, how excellent, is the doctrine that traces man to such an origin![FN#388][FN#387] The passage occurs in Tao Teh King.
[FN#388] A. 'Although all of the above-mentioned five doctrines were preached by the Buddha Himself, yet there are some that belong to the Sudden, while others to the Gradual, Teachings. If there were persons of the middle or the lowest grade of understanding, He first taught the most superficial doctrine, then the less superficial, and "Gradually" led them up to the profound. At the outset of His career as a teacher He preached the first doctrine to enable them to give up evil and abide by good; next He preached the second and the third doctrine that they might remove the Pollution and attain to the Purity; and, lastly, He preached the fourth and the fifth doctrine to destroy their attachment to unreal forms, and to show the Ultimate Reality. (Thus) He reduced (all) the temporary doctrines into the eternal one, and taught them how to practise the Law according to the eternal and attain to Buddhahood.
'If there is a person of the highest grade of understanding, he may first of all learn the most profound, next the less profound, and, lastly, the most superficial doctrine-that is, he may at the outset come "Suddenly" to the understanding of the One Reality of True Spirit, as it is taught in the fifth doctrine. When the Spiritual Reality is disclosed before his mind's eye, he may naturally see that it originally transcends all appearances which are unreal, and that unrealities appear on account of illusion, their existence depending on Reality. Then he must give up evil, practise good, put away unrealities by the wisdom of Enlightenment, and reduce them to Reality. When unrealities are all gone, and Reality alone remains complete, he is called the Dharma-kaya-Buddha.'
EVEN if Reality is the origin of life, there must be in all
probability some causes for its coming into existence, as it cannot suddenly assume the form of body by accident. In the preceding chapters I have refuted the first four doctrines, merely because they are imperfect, and in this chapter I shall reconcile the temporary with the eternal doctrine. In short, I shall show that even
Confucianism is in the right.[FN#390] That is to say, from the beginning there exists Reality (within all beings), which is one and spiritual. It can never be created nor destroyed. It does not increase nor decrease itself. It is subject to neither change nor decay. Sentient beings, slumbering in (the night of) illusion from time immemorial, are not conscious of its existence. As it is hidden and veiled, it is named Tathagata-garbha.[FN#391] On this Tathagata-garbha the mental phenomena that are subject to growth and decay depend.
Real Spirit, as is stated (in the Acvaghosa's Çastra), that transcends creation and destruction, is united with illusion, which is subject to creation and destruction; and the one is not absolutely the same as nor different from the other. This union (with illusion) has the two sides of enlightenment and non -enlightenment,' and is called Alaya-vijnyana. Because of non-enlightenment,[FN#392] it first arouses itself, and forms some ideas. This activity of the Vijnyana is named 'the state of Karma.[FN#393] Furthermore, since one does not understand that these ideas are unreal from the beginning, they transform themselves into the subject (within) and the object (without), into the seer and the seen. One is at a loss how to understand that these external objects are no more than the creation of his own delusive mind, and believes them to be really existent. This is called the erroneous belief in the existence of external objects.[FN#394] In consequence of these erroneous beliefs, he distinguishes Self and non-self, and at last forms the erroneous belief of Atman. Since he is attached to the form of the Self, he yearns after various objects agreeable to the sense for the sake of the good of his Self. He is offended, (however), with various disagreeable objects, and is afraid of the injuries and troubles which they bring on him. (Thus) his foolish passions[FN#395] are strengthened step by step.
[FN#389] A. 'The doctrines refuted above are reconciled with the real doctrine in this chapter. They are all in the right in their pointing to the true origin.'
[FN#390] A. 'The first section states the fifth doctrine that reveals the Reality, and the statements in the following sections are the same as the other doctrines, as shown in the notes.'
[FN#391] A. 'The following statement is similar to the fourth doctrine explained above in the refutation of the phenomenal existence subject to growth and decay.' Compare Çraddhotpada-castra.[FN#392] A. 'The following statement is similar to the doctrine of Dharma-laksana.' [FN#393] Here Karma simply means an active state; it should be distinguished from Karma, produced by actions. [FN#394] A. 'The following statement is similar to the second doctrine, or Hinayanism.' [FN#395] A. 'The following statement is similar to the first doctrine for men and Devas.'
Thus (on one hand) the souls of those who committed the crimes of killing, stealing, and so on, are born, by the influence of the bad Karma, in hell, or among Pretas, or among beasts, or elsewhere. On the other hand, the souls of those who, being afraid of such sufferings, or being good-natured, gave alms, kept precepts, and so on, undergo Antarabhava[FN#396] by the influence of the good Kharma, enter into the womb of their mothers.[FN#397][FN#396] The spiritual existence between this and another life. [FN#397] A. 'The following statement is similar to Confucianism and Taoism.'
There they are endowed with the (so-called) Gas, or material (for body).[FN#398] The Gas first consists of four elements[FN#399] and it gradually forms various sense-organs. The mind first consists of the four aggregates,[FN#400] and it gradually forms various Vijnyanas. After the whole course of ten months they are born and called men. These are our present bodies and minds. Therefore we must know that body and mind has each its own origin, and that the two, being united, form one human being. They are born among Devas and Asuras, and so on in a manner almost similar to this.[FN#398] A. 'This harmonizes with the outside opinion that Gas is the origin.' [FN#399] (1) Earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) air. [FN#400] (1) Perception, (2) consciousness, (3) conception, (4) knowledge.
Though we are born among men by virtue of 'the generalizing Karma,'[FN#401] yet, by the influence of 'the particularizing Karma,'[FN#402] some are placed in a high rank, while others in a low; some are poor, while others rich; some enjoy a long life, while others die in youth; some are sickly, while others healthy; some are rising, while others are falling; some suffer from pains, while others enjoy pleasures. For instance, reverence or indolence in the previous existence, working as the cause, brings forth high birth or low in the present as the effect. So also benevolence in the past results in long life in the present; the taking of life, a short life; the giving of alms, richness, miserliness, Poverty. There are so many particular cases of retribution that cannot be mentioned in detail. Hence there are some who happen to be unfortunate, doing no evil, while others fortunate, doing no good in the present life. So also some enjoy a long life, in spite of their inhuman conduct; while others die young, in spite of their taking no life, and so forth. As all this is predestinated by 'the particularizing Karma' produced in the past, it would seem to occur naturally, quite independent of one's actions in the present life. Outside scholars ignorant of the previous existences, relying simply on their observations, believe it to be nothing more than natural.[FN#403][FN#401] The Karma that determines different classes of beings, such as men, beasts, Pretas, etc. [FN#402] The Karma that determines the particular state of an individual in the world.
[FN#403] A. 'This harmonizes with the outside opinion that everything occurs naturally.'
Besides, there are some who cultivated virtues in the earlier, and committed crimes in the later, stages of their past existences; while others were vicious in youth, and virtuous in old age. In consequence, some are happy in youth, being rich and noble, but unhappy in old age, being poor and low in the present life; while others lead poor and miserable lives when young, but grow rich and noble when old, and so on. Hence outside scholars come to believe that one's prosperity or adversity merely depends on a heavenly decree.[FN#404]
The body with which man is endowed, when traced step by step to its origin, proves to be nothing but one primordial Gas in its
undeveloped state. And the mind with which man thinks, when traced step by step to its source, proves to be nothing but the One Real Spirit. To tell the truth, there exists nothing outside of Spirit, and even the Primordial Gas is also a mode of it, for it is one of the external objects projected by the above-stated Vijnyanas, and is one of the mental images of Alaya, out of whose idea, when it is in the state of Karma, come both the subject and the object. As the subject developed itself, the feebler ideas grow stronger step by step, and form erroneous beliefs that end in the production of Karma.[FN#405] Similarly, the object increases in size, the finer objects grow gradually grosser, and gives rise to unreal things that end in the formation[FN#406] of Heaven and Earth. When Karma is ripe enough, one is endowed by father and mother with sperm and ovum, which, united with his consciousness under the influence of Karma, completes a human form.
[FN#406] A. "In the beginning, according to the outside school, there was 'the great changeableness,' which underwent fivefold evolutions, and brought out the Five Principles. Out of that Principle, which they call the Great Path of Nature, came the two subordinate principles of the Positive and the Negative. They seem to explain the Ultimate Reality, but the Path, in fact, no more than the 'perceiving division' of the Alaya. The so-called primordial Gas seems to be the first idea in the awakening Alaya, but it is a mere external object."
According to this view (of Dharmalaksana), things brought forth through the transformations of Alaya and the other Vijnyanas are divided into two parts; one part (remaining), united with Alaya and the other Vijnyanas, becomes man, while the other, becoming separated from them, becomes Heaven, Earth, mountains, rivers, countries, and towns. (Thus) man is the outcome of the union of the two; this is the reason why he alone of the Three Powers is spiritual. This was taught by the Buddha[FN#407] himself when he stated that there existed two different kinds of the four elements--the internal and the external.
Alas! O ye half-educated scholars who adhere to imperfect doctrines, each of which conflicts with another! Ye that seek after truth, if ye would attain to Buddhahood, clearly understand which is the subtler and which is the grosser (form of illusive ideas), which is the originator and which is the originated. (Then) give ye up the originated and return ye to the originator, and to reflect on the Spirit, the Source (of all). When the grosser is exterminated and the subtler removed, the wonderful wisdom of spirit is disclosed, and nothing is beyond its understanding. This is called the
Dharma-sambhoga-kaya. It can of itself transform itself and appear among men in numberless ways. This is called the Nirmana-kaya of Buddha.[FN#408]
[FN#408] Every Buddha has three bodies: (1) Dharma-kaya, or spiritual body; (2) Sambhoga-kaya, or the body of compensation; (3) Nirmana-kaya, or the body capable of transformation.THE END.